For the family of Mr. Cyril Onu of Umuogbodo-Agu, Igbo-Eze North local government area of Enugu state, November 18, 2003 will remain the most significant date in their life.
Like many other men in his community his wife, Mrs. Faith Onu was heavy with baby or rather babies as it turned out to be.
However, on November 18, she was delivered of quadruplets, three males and a female; something she and her husband neither expected nor dreamt of in their entire life.
However, the news of the birth of the quadruplets, Miracle (Akachukwu), Steve (Chimdalu), Gift (Chidera) and Charles (Chukwuebuka) made a huge and pathetic headline, attracting the sympathy of several good spirited individuals, Nongovernmental organization and even the state government.
Nevertheless, after so many months of politicking and dilly dallying, the quadruplets succeeded in meeting the then governor of the state, Barr. Sullivan Chime in his hometown, Udi.
WITHIN NIGERIA gathered that this meeting yielded a huge positive result as the governor promised them a welfare package in the form of scholarship from Primary school to University level (First degree).
Barr. Chime through the instrument of the state also promised their mother, an NCE holder, teaching employment in the state.
Few weeks after this promise, the tenure of the governor ended, though the governor ensured that these promises were gazetted according to the rules of such packages.
Our reporter equally gathered that the two packages have since received the attention of the state legislature, leading to them being gazetted.
Eight years after these promises were given legal backing by the state, the parents of these quadruplets are yet to see the fulfilment of these promises.
On November 18, 2021, these quadruplets celebrated their eighteen years birthday anniversary.
This called for champagne but there was none. There was no birthday cakes either. No photo sessions or special gifts. No red carpet reception or dancing party. No fanfare.
Rather than celebrate these youngsters, their father was running from pillar to post, looking for their SSCE registration fees.
In a chat with their father, Mr. Onu lamented bitterly how the training of these children has become an uphill task.
“They are now in SS3. They just took their SSCE but there is no JAMB examination preparation for them. I have tried all I could to see if they can sit for this forthcoming UTM Examination, all to no avail. I could not raise the fund for them. Their scholarship was approved since 2014 but the state government is yet to do the needful.”
Speaking further, Mr. Onu told our reporter that ” apart from their mother who is now a secondary school teacher, none of the promises was fulfilled.
“I was a businessman but my business went down few months after their birth due to huge financial demand.”
In a chat with one of them, Steve told that ” I have a dream of becoming a medical doctor.”
Asked why he chose to become a medical doctor, he replied that “this is because it will help me make my society better by treating destitute patients free of charge”
Another of the quadruplets, Miracle equally told our reporter that ” I want to study law to fight injustice going on in this country especially those being meted out on the less privileged and women.”
Will Enugu state government fold their hands and allow these lofty dreams pass away? Only time will tell. But unfortunately time is of the essence as these quadruplets will not be sitting for 2022 UTME due to lack of fund.
Our reporter gathered that repeated appeals and newspaper publications by the distraught parents of the quadruplets to the present Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for the payment of the children’s school fees hit a stone wall.
Not even a memo written by the former Chief of Staff, Nnanna Victor Atuonwu, to the Hon Commissioner of Education, conveying Governor Chime’s approval of the scholarship and requesting its implementation could expedite the process.
The memo with reference number GHS/22/XXX/148A, dated 27th May, 2015 stated as follows: “Furtherance to this letter reference no GHS/22/XXIX/228 dated 16th September 2014 on the above subject, His Excellency, the Governor has graciously approved, as prayed in the letter under reference the following: Scholarship for quadruplets up to the university education (first degree level) and employment of the mother of the quadruplets as a teacher. Accordingly, you are requested to take necessary steps to implement His Excellency’s approval.”
The father of the quadruplets, Mr Cyril Onu, has been worried that his legs could hardly carry him. Bills keep rising, with no respite. Not even his party membership and professed loyalty to the PDP at the state and local level could buy him favour at Lion Building. Keeping the four kids in school has left holes in his pockets, yet his party-men in power turn a blind eye.
At present, these quadruplets are daily loosing hope of bright future as paucity of fund has become a source of impediment to their education just as Enugu state government has literally turned blind eye to their plight.